Saturday, August 29, 2009

For your viewing pleasure....

But before we get to the duck photos....

This article has a little good news on the bee thing, at least that is how I read it.... See what you think.

In other exciting news the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy has begun a new online classified service. Which allows people interested in breeding, keeping or eating these old breeds to access the many small farmers who have valiantly keep the breeds alive despite plummeting demand in the face of agribusiness. I found out about it here. I have read about the ALBC before and am in awe of the people who have organized around this. I, of course, would love to be a part of the conservation efforts. I am not sure how likely that is, as I am not going to be able to have a breeding flock of chickens as roosters are banned from the city. Perhaps my goats can be of a heritage breed, though sending a goat via post seems somewhat more difficult than shipping chicks or hatching eggs.

This is the SB's approach to the duck house and the mid day freeing of the ducks....

This is them (they?) just hangin' out....

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Of all the.....

We have 1.49 acres, but yesterday, the ducks thought that the grazing might be a little better on the other side of the road.... Now, I wouldn't say our street is a thoroughfare, but it does get quite a bit of traffic. It is one of those places that there is little enough that what we have can go fast.

I was in the kitchen cooking when I realized that I couldn't hear the ducks. Like children of all ages, silence makes you wonder what on earth they are up to. I went onto the back porch (which has an excellent view of the yard) and still couldn't find them. Finally I discovered them on the opposite side of the road, snorggling around in the rotting leaves and looking like they were considering climbing the bank there. Thankfully, there was no traffic. They are so, um, impulsive, that I think if one of them ran, the others would follow, lemming-like. A single vehicle could have taken out a big chunk of the flock.

I herded them back across the street to their own yard. Then I told them that they were grounded and locked them back up in their pen. Bad Ducks. We are considering some fencing to keep them in the yard. Really. How is it that 1.49 acres isn't enough grazing ground for 11 ducks? They haven't even seen the majority of the property....

I am going to try to get out in the garden and do some last ditch seed planting for winter. My beets have not come up well and I am in a bit of a panic. The mustard greens are going crazy though. If you have recipes for mustard greens, let me know. I usually just through them in with bean soup or something.

Made moussaka last night from this recipe. YUM. SO much easier that the other one I was looking at in the Joy of Cooking. I think I would salt the eggplant though, as mine turned out kinda juice-y

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


The little brown duck has recovered. Whew. The SB kept making jokes about duck and mustard green soup. Which sounds delicious, unless you think about it as your duck.... No eggs yet.

I came home from work yesterday to find that the SB had dug a new garden bed. Talk about a big fat treat!! He does the hard work and I get to do the seed planting. *swoon*

Monday, August 17, 2009


One of the little brown ducks is limping. We caught her and looked but couldn't find a wound (I thought maybe she had gotten cut on some of the glass that turns up in the creek.) We are letting her be and hoping that she improves on her own. It came on suddenly, so I am hoping it is just a sprain or pull and will heal up on its own. Poor critter.

Friday, August 14, 2009

And more with the summer...

I think we are getting toward the end of the summer heat. Not that we had much of it this year, but in the same way that having a long vacation doesn't actually make you want to go back to work, having a cool summer doesn't make you glad to see the heat. In reality, I could deal with the heat if it weren't for the voracious mosquitoes that stalk me now day and night. I have to slather myself with stinky bug spray before even attempting the simplest of garden tasks. There is so much to do out side and it is brutal. Last night the bugs were biting me through my pants. Pretty underhanded. Oh, and we have yet to turn on the AC this year. Not that I mind really. I just feel kinda butch.

Things have gotten frisky in the duck pen. There is a great deal of cavorting and flirting and ... well, I am sure you can imagine the results. Two boys, nine girls all reaching sexual maturity in the summer around a pool. It is no less dramatic than you might - who is flirting with whom, who has his/her advances accepted or rejected, etc etc. The boys aren't actively fighting though, which is good. Sampson chases Cyrus, who seems happy to run rather than confront him. He is a lover (every chance he gets) not a fighter. Duck eggs in about 3 weeks I think.

I have been making tomatillo sauce. We have lots of peppers and tomatillos. I planted sugar snaps yesterday. Still waiting on other things to come up, though the mustard and kale are going great guns, as is the rutabaga. A few other less identifiable things as well.

Tomorrow, I think, must be a day to visit the bees. They have been sorely neglected and I have to see if 1) there is any honey and 2) if I need to do anything to get them ready for winter. Wish me luck, I am a little out of practice.

The SB and I spent about a week digging and moving 4 ENORMOUS boxwoods from a yard a mile or so away. THAT will set you back on the housework.

I have been making watermelon agua fresca lately. Fill the blender container with watermelon chunks, the juice of a lime, about 1/3 cup of sugar and 1/2 cup of water. Blend until smooth, run through a strainer, add more water or seltzer and some more lime juice and/or mint. Mmmm. I'll even give you some if you come mow the lawn.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The Season

So this is an odd time of the year when I am both putting things up and planting. Over the weekend I made three batches of tomatillo sauce. The SB and I went blackberry picking at a friends and hauled home 6 pounds of blackberries after 30 minutes of "work". An amazing year. Hoping for more of that tomorrow and possibly some blackberry jam. I am getting lots of jalapenos which go well with the tomatillos, but the squash bugs have pretty well done in the summer squash, though I am considering one last planting. I have planted August 1 before and harvested before frost. The SB built me a trellis for fall sugar snaps and I am currently trying to cool the soil with a heavy layer of straw. I have put in seeds for lettuce, spinach, kale, beets, turnips, rutabagas, and some other things. I have a flat full of cabbage, broccoli and Brussels sprouts seedlings. The SB also built me a frame from bamboo garnered from the CHO house so that when all these goodies get going, I will be able to cover them with remay for the winter and prolong whatever harvest we get. Assuming we can figure a way to keep the ducks out.

They were great company in the yard yesterday. I took off work early and came home to sort through the potatoes (which I had noticed some fruit flies in earlier in the day - a bad sign). I took everything out that we had harvested and washed and sorted through them all to find the "eat soon" ones that wouldn't store and the ones that were suitable for longer term storage. Let me just say there are a lot in the "eat soon" pile. But I LOVE home grown potatoes, so no worries there. The ducks kept creeping up on me. I think the sound of the water I was using to wash the potatoes in an old dishpan was attractive to them. Though when I offered it, they ran away. They eventually got bored and started nibbling on the SB's old Chevy truck in the drive way, and chasing them away from that was akin to playing with a boomerang.

The ducks are, undeniably, insane. I have named another duck. She is Aretha, duck of many colors. In the filtered sunlight her black feathers have eggplant purple, mallard green and peacock blue colors. Stunning. In direct light she is quite ordinary.